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Posted at: Sep 10, 2017, 10:45 AM; last updated: Sep 10, 2017, 10:45 AM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: DADDY

Rise and fall of a gangster

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FILM: Daddy

  • CAST: Arjun Rampal, Rajesh Shringarpure, Nishikant Kamat,Aishwarya Rajesh, Anand Ingale, Farhan Akhtar
  • DIRECTOR:Ashim Ahluwalia
Rise and fall of a gangster

Nonika Singh

FROM the director of hugely acclaimed Miss Lovely we get another shot at the dark sinister world without flinching and sans Bollywoodisation. Daddy that begins on a chilling note is based on a real life gangster Arun Gawli. 

Unlike the other gangster, who ruled in the same era and who has fascinated our makers more, Gawli may not be a household name, at least not in this part of the country. But those who are aware and have kept tabs on the muchfeared gangster and who even won an election, would know that he is very much alive today. 

Where he is right now…well if you are oblivious to the reality, we won’t spoil your fun for the movie foregrounds that part only in the climax. Structured as a thriller, the opening sequence itself unfolds one hell of a gruesome murder and consequently takes you through many such killings, some which Gawli is witness to and several which he himself executed. 

The film makes no bones about Gawli’s bloody life and expectedly blood (and gore too) spills in plenty. Yet, as the narrative moves back and forth in time, it ensnares you and by and large, the tale remains gripping if not cent per cent factual. The problem with most biopics, as with this one too, we don’t really know what exactly is the proportion of truth and what is the figment of creative imagination. 

In fact, yet another real life don has been given a fictitious name for reasons best known to Rampal, who by the way not only plays the titular character but is also the producer. With a prosthetic nose in place, he looks nowhere like the handsome hunk we are otherwise familiar with and quite like the character he has chosen to essay. He gets into the skin of Gawli in the most understated fashion though. 

Even when he is shown killing in cold blood, there is no unnecessary bravado attached to his acts. Sure Gawli is shown as a family man and his wife’s character runs alongside and daughter makes due presence too. Yet, in a film that comes with the title Daddy for that is how Gawli was known among his people, sloppy sentiments are set aside. There might be a conscious attempt to make you empathize with Gawli’s predicament what with a ruthless police officer (Nishikant Kamat is remarkably effective) out to get him at any cost. 

Gawli gets to express his point of view too as he points at the nexus between underworld, businessmen and politicians. How poverty and circumstances push men into the world of crime too is referred to. Yet the film essentially remains a crime drama. Interspersed with gang rivalries and a policeman constantly on his tail, its tone and tenor is in sync with its theme of underworld grime. 

Where the film falters is in its heavy-footed pace and hence tends to hang heavy at several junctures. In the non-linear storyline, some missing links are not connected. Besides, the film doesn’t really take you into the inner world of the man and doesn’t tell more than a random search of Wikipedia would. 

However, its cinematic brilliance and attention to detail bear the stamp of Ahluwalia, who doesn’t believe in surface gloss and glamour. But then violence never looked beautiful and doesn’t have a sunny side. If you are up for bracing its underside, this is your film. Otherwise, stay away.

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